A former women’s garment factory in Summer Hill is set to be transformed into a new cultural hub for Sydney’s inner west, providing a safe, affordable and collaborative outlet for artists.
Michelle St Anne, artistic director and founder of inner west theatre group The Living Room Theatre, is partnering with building owner Joseph Somma to deliver a three-level warehouse at 1A Hardie Street, Summer Hill with a five-year vision of turning the building she has called ‘The Landlord’ into a home for the local creative community.
“My works over the past two decades have very much been about championing the voices of the silenced and that’s why this space, The Landlord, resonated with me. It’s been an abandoned space for some time – she’s asleep, I can feel her and it’s time to wake her up.”
Each level will offer unique opportunities with the bottom level aiming to feature a hospitality area such as a café or bar for networking and collaborating, pop-up retail spaces to support resident creatives and potential small-scale platforms for artist talks, book launches and film screenings.
The second floor will be home to The Living Room Theatre, providing a performance space and dance floor for scaled presentations of new Australian work. The theatre organisation also aspires to establish a centre for artistic research, building connections between artists, audiences and the community.
The top level will have designated studio and office space for small – medium arts organisations and community groups to utilise for their creative works.
Ms St Anne, who is currently on the committee for the Inner West Creative Network, has been inspired to build The Landlord space following findings by the Network into critical needs of the local artist community which include affordable venues for artists and their audience, studio hire as well as meeting rooms and hospitality areas for collaboration and networking.
Established in 2000, The Living Room Theatre is a non-profit registered organisation with 26 original works created across two decades highlights include I Love Todd Sampson, Billie a girl, a swing and underpants and more recently the foul of the air inspired by author Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things.